A View Of Superbowl Sunday
Updated: Jan 3
I must first say that for any of you that know me well, you could put my overall knowledge of sports into thimble (German = Fingerhut). During the years my son played football in High School and as he went on to play in College, I followed the sport a bit more than any other time in my life. On a side note, it still baffles me that my son was so successful in football. He cannot carry a “tune in a bucket” (he can’t sing), he played football in College and is 6’ 3”(190cm), I guess I am going to have to give his Mother’s side of the family credit for that.
While living in America, on the occasional Sunday from September through January I would watch a football game. But this was only because there is not much else on television on Sunday’s during these months. A few days ago, someone asked me who was playing in the Superbowl this year. I actually had no idea and well…..I had to google it.
Super Bowl LIII is the 53rd edition of this event. (why do they use Roman numbers? Nobody reads Roman numbers). Today over 100 million American’s (approximately 1/3 of U.S. population) will tune in their televisions to watch this game. There are another estimated 40-50 million people who will be watching the game globally. So, let’s say that totals,150 million viewers globally. To put this in perspective, over 1 billion people tuned in to watch Germany beat Argentina in the 2014 World Cup Finals in Brazil. I must be honest at this point until I moved to Europe, I had no idea what the World Cup was. So, for my American friends, it is soccer. Yep, I said soccer.
In Europe, they refer to soccer as “football” (German = Fussball), which is actually the more appropriate name for the sport, since……you play it mostly with your feet. The World Cup is truly a world competition, in that most countries around the world (even the USA) are invited to participate. Professional “soccer players” depart from their professional clubs, where they earn huge money much like the American football players and join their fellow countrymen to assemble a national team to play for the honor of their country. In contrast, the Superbowl is a tournament only for American professional football teams. I will need to check with my buddy’s Alex and Silvan (who have played American style football here in Germany for the Landshut Knights), but I am pretty sure they were not invited to participate in this competition.
The winner of the Superbowl was in previous years and is still often referred to as the “World Champions”. In that the world is not actually involved in this competition, along with pressure received from journalists worldwide, the NFL (National Football League) refer to the winner of this event as the “Superbowl Champions”. However, here is a little information for you. A Superbowl ring is given to the each of the winning teams, players, coaches, owners, and management at a cost of $36,500 each and well it is still engraved with the words “World Champions”.
The regulation playing time for a professional football game is 60 minutes consisting of (4) 15-minute quarters. But today the scheduled broadcast time for Superbowl LIII will be 3 hours and 44 minutes. Of course, this includes the half time show, featuring the headliner band Maroon 5, with appearances by Rappers Travis Scott and Big Boi (nothing more American than a couple of Rappers…..right?) and a bazillion commercials (German = werbung). Today, companies will pay $5,250,000 for 30 seconds of commercial time. However, the game is being played at a stadium owned by a German automotive company (Mercedes-Benz) in Atlanta Georgia. Perhaps the German-owned stadium brings in a bit of the world factor. Hmmmm?
Today, people around the world will watch 106 (53 players per team) grossly overpaid athletes play football. In reality many of these sports legends and idols, actually lack a real education (but somehow graduated from the college they played football for….wink, wink), some of them feel so empowered that they can use the sport as a stage (German = Bühne) to make a political statement. Additionally, many of these entitled athletes have been arrested for a varying range of legal infractions (because the law surely does not apply to them) and some will be penniless (German – Arme) when they leave the sport, because they spent money excessively while playing a sport that has an average career span of 6 years (if your lucky). Nonetheless, these athletes were bred to play this sport and now will compete for the title of Superbowl Champion. Please do not get me wrong, there are surely many great guys who play this sport, I would put my comments under the category of “we need to think about the people we or our children idolize in our lives”.
Today, Americans who will watch this game typically will view it in one of three ways.
The Superbowl Party. This is when a group of friends gather at someone’s house (typically at the home of the person with the one with the largest television screen) and they partake in a tradition called the Superbowl party. This gathering is made up of a combination of die-hard football fans and others who might actually have no interest in football. A typical party will include eating and drinking excessively while cheering on their favorite team. However, please keep in mind, that the team they will be supporting today is likely a team that in the weeks previous they actually had no interest in. Got to love it.
Go to a Sports Bar. I really have not seen much of the sports bar concept in Germany, although there must be some around. A traditional sports bar in American is a restaurant/bar with as many as 20 or more large-screen televisions showing every sport imaginable (except soccer), while customers dine on anything that can be made in a deep fryer and drink beer from a selection of 50 different brands. On this day the only event that will be showing in a sports bar will be the Superbowl. Here is a link to a sports bar from my home town. https://www.petesgaragemi.com/Home
I am not actually sure why they don’t have many sports bars here in Germany. I suppose it is because of the lack of professional and collegiate competition at the gross level of the U.S. (Baseball, Basketball, Football). On a recent Monday, I was at a place in town with my buddy and they were actually showing a game they called Handball on the television. It was not like American handball (played in a glass box, slapping a small rubber ball on the walls). This was like a miniature version of soccer, played on a small playing field and instead of kicking the ball, they used their arms to whirl the equivalent of a miniature soccer ball at the opponent’s net. I really didn’t get it, but a lot of the Bavarian's seemed to be into it.
Recline in your La-Z-Boy chair in the comfort of your home. The La-Z-Boy chair is actually a brand of recliner in America. The company was founded in my hometown, south of Detroit and is still headquartered there. This chair is the most comfortable chair in the world and typically is the throne for the King of the house (the man, in case there was any confusion) and all others are forbidden to sit on this throne.
So, there you have it. The View From My Window on the Superbowl. Please be clear on one point. I am not criticizing anyone for watching the game or getting engaged in the spirit of sport, as this event is nothing short of spectacular and if I was in America, I would be watching the game today just like everyone else. Just like I watched the World Cup while in Europe. Nonetheless, I will not be watching the game today, due to the time difference. The game will not start in Germany until after midnight and I have to do this thing called “work” tomorrow. So, I will wake up on Monday morning and turn on the news and see who won the game and I am pretty sure that that after all the hoopla, party's and the expenditure of millions of dollars on this event, that my little world will not be any different than it was the day before.